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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 43

118. So Harpagos declared the truth, and Astyages concealed the anger which he kept against him for that which had come to pass, and first he related the matter over again to Harpagos according as he had been told it by the herdsman, and afterwards, when it had been thus repeated by him, he ended by saying that the child was alive and that that which had come to pass was well, "for," continued he, "I was greatly troubled by that which had been done to this child, and I thought it no light thing that I had been made at variance with my daughter. Therefore consider that this is a happy change of fortune, and first send thy son to be with the boy who is newly come, and then, seeing that I intend to make a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the preservation of the boy to those gods to whom that honour belongs, be here thyself to dine with me."

119. When Harpagos heard this, he did reverence and thought it a great matter that his offence had turned out for his profit and moreover that he had been invited to dinner with happy augury; 127 and so he went to his house. And having entered it straightway, he sent forth his son, for he had one only son of about thirteen years old, bidding him go to the palace of Astyages and do whatsoever the king should command; and he himself being overjoyed told his wife that which had befallen him. But Astyages, when the son of Harpagos arrived, cut his throat and divided him limb from limb, and having roasted some pieces of the flesh and boiled others he caused them to be dressed for eating and kept them ready. And when the time arrived for dinner and the other guests were present and also Harpagos, then before the other guests and before Astyages himself were placed tables covered with flesh of sheep; but before Harpagos was placed the flesh of his own son, all but the head and the hands and the feet, 128 and these were laid aside covered up in a basket. Then when it seemed that Harpagos was satisfied with food, Astyages asked him whether he had been pleased with the banquet; and when Harpagos said that he had been very greatly pleased, they who had been commanded to do this brought to him the head of his son covered up, together with the hands and the feet; and standing near they bade Harpagos uncover and take of them that which he desired. So when Harpagos obeyed and uncovered, he saw the remains of his son; and seeing them he was not overcome with amazement but contained himself: and Astyages asked him whether he perceived of what animal he had been eating the flesh: and he said that he perceived, and that whatsoever the king might do was well pleasing to him. Thus having made answer and taking up the parts of the flesh which still remained he went to his house; and after that, I suppose, he would gather all the parts together and bury them.


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